WAR IN THE WEST 1939-41: VOLUME 1: The Rise of Germany

WAR IN THE WEST 1939-41: VOLUME 1: The Rise of Germany

JAMES HOLLAND    Book Number: 88451    Product format: Paperback

Hailed as an outstanding debut from an exciting young historian, this book asks some questions that have been absent from traditional histories of World War II. For instance, when a young officer found that his tank or plane was no longer serviceable, another one would appear the next day. But how did this happen? What were the logistics, the engineering, the manufacture, the lines of distribution? The author has spoken to many veterans to gain a sense of what the war was like on the ground, and has fed it into the bigger picture from the generals' and politicians' point of view. The conventional narrative is that at the start of the war Germany had the best-trained troops and best equipment, and that plucky little Britain held out until the Americans saved us. The author points out, however, that although the German Tiger tank was terrifying in the field, it was also unwieldy, mechanically unreliable, thirsty of fuel. Some members of the German high command realised that Germany could not keep up with the pace of armaments production in the Allied nations, but Hitler refused to listen, believing like all megalomaniacs that his will made him invincible. The British army, on the other hand, started the war too entrenched in regimental tradition. The cavalry had remained in operation during the 20s and 30s, an example being the Nottingham Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, camped on the Duke of Portland's estate and running its operations like grown-up scouts on horseback. That all changed with new modernising officers. In civilian life there was an initial reluctance to face realities like food shortage, but in 1940, with the invasion of Norway and the smashing of the French line on the Meuse, reality struck home. One of the book's most striking passages is a description by a German airman of a raid on a French air base. His target, the airship hangar, "came rushing towards him at a terrifying rate" as he dived for the attack. Meanwhile the efforts of Lord Beaverbrook at the Ministry of Aircraft Production were putting Britain in a position to respond. A gripping read. 692pp, paperback, timeline, photos in black and white and colour.
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Additional product information

ISBN 9780802125668
Browse this category: War & Militaria

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